|Thursday, 3 October 2002|
Superlative display by Wijemanne
BUSAN, Wednesday - Promising Davis Cup player Renouk Wijemanne came out with a superlative display to guide Sri Lanka tennis team to an exciting two game to one win over Kyrgyzstan in their 14th Asian Games first round tie worked off Geumjeong Tennis Stadium here today.
Wijemanne was the architect of the thrilling Lankan victory, winning both his singles and doubles matches, as his team recovered after losing the opening singles match. Sri Lankan Rajiv Rajapakse showed early form when he won the first set of his first singles match against Ruslan Eshmlihamedov 6-4. But he lost the second set by the same margin and was completely off colour in the decisive third set to lose the match 6-4, 4-6, 0-6.
Sri Lanka, having lost the first singles match, had to win the second singles match and the doubles if they are to win the tie. It was then that Wijemanne took up the challenge and won his singles match against Eduard Koifman in straight sets 6-1, 6-2 to level the tie at one-all.
Rajapakse put aside his singles defeat and combined effective with Wijemanne to win the crucial doubles match which made the difference.
The Lankan duo won the first set without any resistance from the Kyrgyzstan pair of Eshmlihamedov and Koifman 6-0. Using all their experience at Davis Cup level, Wijemanne and Rajapakse did well to win a relatively tighter second set, without going in to a third and win the match and tie for Sri Lanka 6-0, 7-5.
Sri Lanka will meet China, which has been given a bye, in their second round tie of the men's team event.
At the Manan gymnasium today, Sri Lanka's M.D.K. Wanniararchchi lost his Asian Games boxing bout in the bantamweight category. Boxing in 54kg class, Wanniarachchi, who was in the red corner, could not match with his Uzbekistan opponent at all.
Bekzod Khidirov landed a series of left rights to knock out the Lankan as the Thai referee stopped the bout when the third round was only 67 minutes old. The next Lankan boxer to be seen in action at the Asian Games here would be Harsha Kumara, who will take on Choijijav Bumchin of Mongolia in the light flyweight 48kg category first round on Friday (4).
At Gudeok Gymnasium, M.S. Attanayake went down to Mongolian Gantumur Dashdavaa (lppon-Gachi) in the 66kg men's preliminary round of the 14th Asian Games judo competition here today. Sri Lanka's R.D.K.P. Gunasekera lost his men's 90kg round one bout to another Mongolian Tsend-ayush Ochirbat.
At the Changwon International Shooting Range, Sri Lanka's Commonwealth Games medallist, Pushpamali Ramanayake could only secure the 24th place out of 42 competitors in the women's 10m air rifle preliminary round of the Asian Games here.
Ramanayake totalled 386 with breaks of 96, 98, 96, 96. China's Yinghui Zhao scored 399 points to establish a new Asian Games record and headed the qualifying round standings. She maintained her form in the final round as well to win the gold medal with 501.4 points - a new Asian Games record. Her team mate Jing Gao bagged the silver medal.
The golf championship of the 14th Asian Games will commence at the Country course here in Busan tomorrow.
Tissa Chandradasa, Anura Rohana and Lalith Kumara will tee off for Sri Lanka on day one of the Asiad golf competition.
Meanwhile, Veteran Sri Lanka athlete Sriyani Kulawansa has been disturbed by the news that she has been axed from the women's 4 x 100m relay team.
As reported in these columns days after last month's National Sports Festival, the AAA earlier said Susanthika Jayasinghe, Damayanthi Darsha, Anoma Sooriyarachchi and Jani Chathurangani would run for Sri Lankan in the 100m relay. But Kulawansa seemed to be unaware of the earlier selection and said she was promised a fresh trial. Athletic team officials were not immediately available for comment but Chef de mission, Cmdr. H.U. Silva said he has asked the relevant officials to sort out the matter early.
Produced by Lake House